Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours

The Flanders Beer & Hop Harvest Tour

Wednesday 06 September 2023 - Sunday 10 September 2023

This beer tour is all about the beers, breweries and hops of West Flanders, all at hop harvesting time. We are staying at the lovely Hotel Oude Abdij in Lo, a great place for exploring breweries such as St Bernardus, De Plukker, De Struise Brouwers and Deca Brewery (who have an excellent new tasting room). We'll visit a hop farm at prime harvesting season, to see what goes on, and the National Hop Museum in Poperinge. Siobhan also wants to do a day visiting some of the greatest beer bars in West Flanders in a little area called the 'Heuvelland' or 'Hilly Land' on the borderlands of France, often overlooked by travellers through Belgium. Her first visits to Belgium and introduction to Belgian beer thirty years ago were to these hidden countryside herbergs and many of the best of these cafes are still going strong. She would like to take travellers to see these rural, unspoilt, traditional Flemish bolt-holes, and we'll do this on this Tour. Expect brewery visits, beer cafes, beer cuisine restaurants, quirky visits, and a visit to the greatest Black Beer Bar in Belgium, with its dedicated Black Beer menu, the Kaffee Bazaar in Ypres.


Hop Harvest at Hoppcruyt in Proven, West Flanders.

We are based in Chelmsford in Essex and we use Eurotunnel from Folkestone to get to and from Belgium in our UK hired coach. Most of our Travellers join the Tour at our main pick up point outside The Woolpack Pub, 23 Mildmay Road, Chelmsford CM2 0DN and most come from other parts of the UK, and some from further afield, especially USA. Lots of our Travellers stay the night before a Tour (and often the night of our return) at Chelmsford Travelodge only a few minutes walk from The Woolpack or at the Premier Inn near the Railway Station, about a 10 minute walk to the pick up point at The Woolpack. We all usually pop in to The Woolpack the night before departure for a meet, greet and a few beers with Siobhan who is your Tour Manager, Tour Guide and drinking pal for the duration.

Sint Sixtus Westvleteren

Westvleteren Blond 5.8% (Siobhan's fav) at In de Vrede, Sint Sixtus, Westvleteren.

Our Galloways luxury coach (49 seater coach with toilet) starts from Suffolk and on the way to Chelmsford picks up at the following if required:

Ipswich, Crown Street, IP1 3HS (opp. NCP Car Park)

Colchester, Southway, CO2 7BA (pull-in adjacent to Chapel Street South)

Chelmsford, The Woolpack, 23 Mildmay Road, CM2 0DN

Dartford, BP Garage (formerly Esso) 474 Princes Road, DA1 1YT. On the return leg we drop off at Dartford Railway Station DA1 1DR

Swanley, Unit 4, Moreton Industrial Estate, London Road, BR8 8DE

Maidstone Services J8, M20 Kent, ME17 1SS

Ashford (Eureka Leisure Park) Premier Inn, Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Rd, Ashford TN25 4BN

Stop 24 Services, J11, M20, Kent, CT21 4BL

Stationsplein, Adinkerke, Belgium

The crossing times we usually go for are the 09.20hr Eurotunnel from Folkestone and the 19.50hrs from Calais, so we arrive back in Folkestone at 19.30hrs UK time.

This Tour is currently being built so keep an eye on this web page or subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for updates. The final detailed and timed itinerary will be posted here at least four weeks prior to departure. If you would like to join us on the interested list please send Siobhan an email or call her on +44 (0) 7722 724 558, or if you have any questions about this Tour. We will set the deposit and Tour price later in 2022.

Tour Price will be announced later in 2022.

We regret that we need to charge a single supplement for travellers who would like their own hotel room. This is because increasingly hotel room prices are quoted with very little difference between single person or two person occupancy. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact Siobhan as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payment of the Single Supplement.

Included in the cost of this Tour are:

Hotel accommodation and breakfasts;

Hotel city taxes;

Luxury coach travel on a 49 seater coach with toilet;

All brewery visits, tours and brewery beer tastings;

Entrance fees to attractions, museums and historical sites;

All items marked with an asterisk above and on the individual detailed tour itinerary when issued;

Copies of Podge’s City Bar Guides and Maps for the town where we stay or spend some time;

Still and sparkling water on the coach;

Pick up from Ipswich (at bus shelter outside Crown House, Crown Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 3HS (opposite NCP Car Park), Colchester (Southway Chapel St South Layby) or Chelmsford (The Woolpack, Mildmay Road). Arrangements can be made for different joining points on the way to Folkestone or even on the other side of the channel.

Travellers are responsible for the costs of all food and drink apart from items marked with an asterisk on the detailed itinerary plus all passport and insurance costs.

All itinerary times are local and approximate.

Personal insurance is not included in the Tour price but is strongly advised, as is carrying the free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is the 2021 replacement for the old EHIC. You can still use your EHIC card so long as it is in date, then you need to apply for the GHIC replacement online.

If you have any questions or would like to join us please send Siobhan an email or call on +44 (0)7722 724 558.

All Tours are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

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